Jason Geria says A-League grand final’s the norm at Melbourne Victory

Melbourne Victory defender Jason Geria says grand final appearances are the bare minimum expectation at the club as the Canberra export guns for his second A-League crown in as many years.


Victory face a red-hot Sydney FC in a rematch of the decider that Geria’s men won in Melbourne two years ago and the visitors are preparing an ambush in the harbour city.

The Sky Blues have put together the best season in A-League history, dropping just one game en route to the most competition points ever accumulated, but the gloss of those unprecedented statistics will be washed off with a loss on Sunday.

There was daylight between the clubs in the regular season with Victory finishing 17 points behind Sydney, but Geria said the gap is far closer than the ladder suggests.

“Everyone is entitled to their opinion and can say what they please but we know what we can do and know if we execute to the best of our ability we’re very hard to stop,” Geria said.

“Against Brisbane [last week] was as very good performance and we’re going into Sunday with pretty much the same mindset of imposing our game plan and pressing and keeping the game moving and looking to score goals.

“We showed how dangerous and hard to stop we are when we play like that so we’ll be looking to do that again and if we can it should be a pretty special game for us.”

The 23-year-old said nerves won’t be a factor in the biggest game of the year because the team expected to be there from the first day of preseason.

“In preseason we said grand final and championship and now we’re here so we’re setting out to do what we originally planned,” Geria said.

“I feel privileged this is the second one I am involved in but at Melbourne Victory we set our standards pretty high and grand finals and championships are the standard for us.”

After being named in the starting XI Geria will earn more than the two minutes he tasted in Victory’s 2015 title win, but said victory on Sunday would be a reflection of nine months work, not 90 minutes.

“The last final I didn’t get too much time but regardless if you do play a lot or not the feeling of winning a championship is for everyone. The team the staff, the supporters, everyone is included and that overrides how much involvement you actually have on the pitch,” Geria said.

“My main priority is getting the job done and winning the championship and the team comes before the individual, whatever role you need to play you do it.”

The clash represents the latest chapter in a storied rivalry between the clubs and Geria is expecting nothing short of fireworks as he looks to spoil Sydney’s party and shut down the Sky Blues gun midfielder and skipper Alex Brosque.

“It’s probably the oldest one [rivalry] in the league since its inception. Games against them are always pretty intense and it’s another Big Blue grand final like we had two years ago,” Geria said.

“That game from kick-off was 100 miles an hour and in this one we’re expecting a lot of challenges and we’ll have to win our on-on-one battles because there is a lot on the line.”

Melbourne Victory have won just one of seven away games in the post season but Geria said the only way to fix that is meeting the challenge head on.

“We just need to embrace it, it was good to win a championship at home two years ago and it will be a different experience having one away,” he said.

“But we’re going to have a lot of support coming over, I think there will be the most away support ever seen in a grand final, so we’ll have thousands of our fans there who will make it feel like home and hopefully we can get the win for them.”

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NSW Firefighters Championships, Day 1Photos, Video

NSW Firefighters Championships, Day 1 | Photos, Video Firefighters form up for the official opening


Bega’s defending state champion team Trent Smith, Cassandra Dickson, Clinton Towill and Gerard Hanscombe

Trangie brigade

Bega crew

Bega crew

Bega crew

Bega crew

Bega crew

Bega crew

Bega crew

Bega crew

Bega crew

Bega crew

Assistant Commissioner Rob McNeil

President of the FRNSW Firefighter Championships Association Captain Greg Fredericks

Cr Sharon Tapscott

Cr Sharon Tapscott

Bronnie Taylor MLC

Port Macquarie crew feeling the chill

Commissioner Paul Baxter

Commissioner Paul Baxter

Commissioner Paul Baxter

Assistant Commissioner Rob McNeil

Dylan Hitchcock and Bega’s Gerard Hanscombe hand out Bega banners and gifts to competitors

Dylan Hitchcock

Dylan Hitchcock

Ulladulla crew

Ulladulla crew

Ulladulla crew

Ulladulla crew

Moruya crew

Moruya crew

Moruya crew

Moruya crew

Moruya crew

Moruya crew

Moruya crew

Moruya crew

Moruya crew

Moruya crew

Moruya crew

Moruya crew

Moruya crew

Moruya crew

Moruya crew


facebookSHAREtwitterTWEETemailwhatsappBega’s Valley Fields is hosting the NSW Fire and Rescue Firefighters Championships overthe weekend of May 6-7.

The championships put firefighters from right across the state –and a visiting Victorian brigade –through competitive events showcasing the skills applicable to their emergency response work.

(Click or swipe through the above gallery to get a taste of day one and the pump and ladder event on a chilly Bega morning.)

The NSW Firefighters Championships were officially opened by newly appointed Fire and Rescue NSW Commissioner Paul Baxter, Assistant Commissioner Rob McNeil, Parliamentary Secretary for the Deputy Premier Bronnie Taylor MLC and Bega Valley Shire councillor Sharon Tapscott.

NSW Firefighters Championships, Day 1 | Photos, Videohttps://nnimgt-a.akamaihd.net/transform/v1/crop/frm/38KKizhZLpuTDCkJAjRb34b/711f672b-9edf-41be-8483-cc724f9c3bea.jpg/r2_164_3202_1972_w1200_h678_fmax.jpgNSW: Action from day one of the NSW Firefighters Regional Championships in Bega.multimedia, photos-and-video, firefighters, firefighting, FRNSW, bega, south coast, fire and rescue2017-05-06T17:00:00+10:00https://players.brightcove.net/3879528182001/default_default/index.html?videoId=5423850600001https://players.brightcove.net/3879528182001/default_default/index.html?videoId=5423850600001BVSC Cr Sharon Tapscott welcomes competitors to BegaTwenty-two teams from across NSW as well as some visiting teams from Victoria were in Bega to take part over two days, putting their firefighting skills to the test in a competitive environment.

Assistant Commissioner McNeil, who is also the championships director,told the Bega District News it came down to “the four C’s” –competency, capability, commitment and credibility.

He said firefighters can know what to do with their skills and gear, but when pressure is on and lives are at stake, accuracy and safety is critical.

“In a competitive environment, everyone feels the pressure, you’re on display,” he said.

“These are real skills andall very aligned with what we do on the fireground.

“And it’s a way of refining those skills you can’t usually do unless you have a realemergency when lives are at stake.”

NSW Firefighters Championships, Day 1 | Photos, Videohttps://nnimgt-a.akamaihd.net/transform/v1/crop/frm/38KKizhZLpuTDCkJAjRb34b/711f672b-9edf-41be-8483-cc724f9c3bea.jpg/r2_164_3202_1972_w1200_h678_fmax.jpgNSW: Action from day one of the NSW Firefighters Regional Championships in Bega.multimedia, photos-and-video, firefighters, firefighting, FRNSW, bega, south coast, fire and rescue2017-05-06T17:00:00+10:00https://players.brightcove.net/3879528182001/default_default/index.html?videoId=5423849195001https://players.brightcove.net/3879528182001/default_default/index.html?videoId=5423849195001Bega crew #2 run the Urban Pumper and ladder eventAssistant Commissioner McNeil said the championships held throughout the year across NSW have the added benefit of increasing teamwork and camaraderie throughout the brigades.

“So when we come together for state disasters –like the recent floods at Lismore –they’re like a hand in glove, all working together.

“I’m very proud of what they do. They have all come here in their own time and on their own dollar just to compete –and have fun!”

Brigades competing in Bega are:

Two from the host brigade (Bega is also the current and defending state overall champion)MerimbulaMittagongMoruyaNowraUlladullaArmidaleDubboKelsoKootingal RFSMerrylandsPort Macquarie x2ScarboroughTrangieUrallaWyongWAFA x2EchucaTamworth City RFSThe championships run through to around 4.30pm Saturday then again on Sunday, May 7, 7.30am until 1pm,at the Keith Mitchell Sportsground (Valley Fields)

NSW Firefighters Championships, Day 1 | Photos, Videohttps://nnimgt-a.akamaihd.net/transform/v1/crop/frm/38KKizhZLpuTDCkJAjRb34b/711f672b-9edf-41be-8483-cc724f9c3bea.jpg/r2_164_3202_1972_w1200_h678_fmax.jpgNSW: Action from day one of the NSW Firefighters Regional Championships in Bega.multimedia, photos-and-video, firefighters, firefighting, FRNSW, bega, south coast, fire and rescue2017-05-06T17:00:00+10:00https://players.brightcove.net/3879528182001/default_default/index.html?videoId=5423881954001https://players.brightcove.net/3879528182001/default_default/index.html?videoId=5423881954001Segments from the official opening

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Investor beats out first-home buyer for $1.25 million one-bedroom home

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A first-home buyer stood little chance when she went up against three investors for a one-bedroom terrace that sold for $150,000 above reserve on Saturday.

The auction for the heritage sandstone workman’s cottage saw more than 50 people pack into the leafy laneway outside 12 McElhone Place, Surry Hills. They milled around alongside several carefree felines, who roam the street affectionately known as “cat alley”.

It was one of 458 auctions held on Saturday. By the evening, Domain Group had collected 316 results to put the clearance rate at 73.6 per cent – a decent drop from the previous week’s 80.3 per cent. “The Sydney auction market has fallen sharply to a year-low result on lower listings, as all eyes now turn to the federal budget,” Domain Group chief economist Andrew Wilson said.

Bidding for the small two-level home – which sits on a 51-square-metre block and has no parking – started with an opening offer of $1 million from a first-home buyer.

From there it went up in $25,000 increments as the eventual winning bidder and first home-buyer went back and forth, before dropping down to $10,000 jumps.

Two other investors joined in before auctioneer David Giezekamp, of Callagher Estate Agents, declared the property sold for $1.25 million after almost 30 bids – more than double the $523,500 records show it last traded for in 2006.

“The result is amazing,” vendor Christopher Dancey said after the auction. “I’ve got slightly mixed emotions, it’s been a great place to live, we’re selling because we’re moving up to Queensland in search of more affordable homes.”

“This place has more than doubled in price in the time we’ve had it, which is symptomatic of the Sydney market.”

Mr Dancey, who had recently been renting out his former home, will be moving up to Buderim on the Sunshine Coast with his wife and their four-year-old son.

“We haven’t bought yet, we’d been waiting to see what sort of budget we would have, but from this we should be able to get a good quarter-acre block in a good spot.”

The successful bidder – Sans Souci investor Tony Peters – said the property was a rare opportunity to buy a heritage home in a great inner-city location.

“I was in and out of the bidding a few times, but I just kept coming back in, I thought it was too unique and precious to let it go,” he said. “I spent about 10 per cent more than I’d planned to stop at.”

He said though he felt there was uncertainty in the market about potentially slowing price growth, he was not concerned as he had bought the property for the “long-haul”.

“I’ve got two children [aged 14 and eight], this might be something they can move into when they’re older.”

Alaina Favretto, the first-home buyer who kicked off the bidding, said she was disappointed to have missed out on another property.

“This was my fourth auction, at two of the others the opening bid was already over my max,” she said. “I’d love to get a terrace, but they’re generally a bit out of my budget so I’ve been looking at apartments. I thought there was a chance with this one though as it’s a one-bedroom.”

“I’ve been looking for about nine months now, in the city and eastern suburbs,” she added. “It’s a hard market.”

Selling agent James Burke, also of Callagher Estate Agents, said the home – inspected by about 80 groups – had drawn interest from a mix of investors, young couples and downsizers.

“We had a lot of people that had been looking at two-bedrooms apartments as well,” he said. “This is in the same price range, and while it’s a one-bedder, it appeals because it doesn’t come with strata and is on a beautiful laneway.”

Mr Giezekamp said while April’s triple whammy of Anzac Day, Easter and the school holidays had impacted the volume of buyers going through some open homes, there was still strong demand.

“There was a lot of disruption in April … as soon as that was done, volumes started coming right back up.”

“After Easter we used to say hold off for the spring selling season but those days are gone.”

In neighbouring Redfern, it was an owner-occupier who beat out investors to snap up a one-bedroom apartment at 46/249 Chalmers Street.

Bidding started at $850,000 and almost 60 bids were made by five of nine registered bidders before the property sold for $1.09 million – $140,000 above reserve.

“It went well above the owner’s expectations,” said selling agent Duncan Gordon of Raine and Horne Newtown.

He noted the apartment’s central location and position overlooking Redfern Park were big drawcards. Elsewhere across Sydney:

3 Lawson Street, Bondi Junction NSW 2022. Photo: Supplied.

SOLD $2.85 million Bondi Junction 3 Lawson Street 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, 1 car space

It didn’t take long for bidding for this contemporary home to soar over the $2.6 million reserve. It started at $2.5 million and went up in $50,000 increments, before dropping to $10,000 jumps at the $2.7 million mark. The property, sold through Edward Brown of Belle Property Bondi Junction, was snapped up by a young local family. The end result was $1.15 million more than the $1.7 million records show it last traded for less than four years ago.

11 Universal Street, Mortdale NSW 2223. Photo: Supplied/Stewart Low.

SOLD $872,500 Mortdale 11 Universal Street 2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom, 0 car spaces

More than 20 parties registered to bid on this tightly held deceased estate on a 220-square metre block. The bidding started at $500,000 and, while only six parties bid, it quickly surpassed the $650,000 reserve. A local investor snapped up the cottage, built in the 1930s, which was sold through Stefan Bujak of Harcourts Georges River. The home was inspected by almost 100 groups, with the majority planning to extensively renovate it or knock it down.

4/10 Emmett Street, Crows Nest.Photo: Supplied/Mind The Gap.

SOLD $1.36 million Crows Nest 4/10 Emmett Street 2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom, 1 car space

Five of 12 registered bidders battled it out for this art deco apartment, which sold for $80,000 above reserve. After an opening bid of $1.1 million, bidding went up at a steady pace, rising in $10,000 increments for much of the auction. It sold through Tom Scarpignato of Belle Property Neutral Bay, who had shown about 70 groups though the apartment and issued about 16 contracts prior to auction day. Records show it last traded for $706,000 in 2011.

2 Denning Street, Petersham.Photo: Supplied

SOLD $1.99 million Petersham 2 Denning Street 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, 0 car spaces

This family home sold for over a million dollars more than the $875,000 records show it traded for five years ago, at auction on Saturday. After an opening bid of $1.75 million, the bidding went up in $25,000 increments and didn’t slow down until it passed $1.95 million. A couple upsizing beat out three other bidders to nab the property. It sold through Lars Foged of Ray White Petersham, who showed about 60 groups through prior to auction day.

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Lawyer cracks open ‘piggy bank’ to buy massive inner-city block

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There was stiff competition to win the keys to 17 Errard Street, Kelvin Grove, but lawyer and mother Liz Hardie had a secret weapon in friend Josie.

“Thank goodness I had support,” she said, gesturing to her friend. “I wouldn’t have done it without her.”

Bidding started at $800,000 but hit $1 million in just four bids. Offers then slowed to smaller increments, until the remaining two bidders haggled over how much above $1.2 million they would pay, eventually settling on $1.21 million.

“I had a number in my head I wasn’t allowed to go past, we went past it but that’s OK,” Mrs Hardie said, laughing.

“I have a very large piggy bank that I will be smashing when I get home.”

The buy was worth every cent, she said. There was plenty of room for her two young sons to play soccer, and was within walking distance to everything her family needed.

“They can walk to Brisbane city, down past the creek and stuff, which will be good,” Mrs Hardie said. “They can walk to soccer training, they still go to school at Kelvin Grove.

“My husband can walk to work, he works at Just Us Lawyers just down the road.”

Space Property agent Judi O’Dea said the 1002-square-metre block in upmarket Kelvin Grove was rare.

“There’s enormous potential because the house sits right at the front of the block.

“It would have to be renovated because it’s a character home.

“From the back there’s actually good elevation, so you don’t have to lift the house, you’d actually dig out,” she said. “It would be very easy to extend the back of the home.”

Ms O’Dea said the property would be perfect for the Hardie family to grow into.

“It’s a very private backyard,” she said..

“It’s ripe for a couple who have a couple of children; the backyard is a beautiful backyard with room for a pool.”

Ms O’Dea had expected a family to snatch up the property. “There were builders looking at it but most wanted to keep the block intact.”

Just down the road in Park Street, Kelvin Grove, an old family estate went to auction later on Saturday.

Investors Andy and Cindy Ho beat several other interested parties for the property, paying $697,000 for the dilapidated home.

Mrs Ho said the price they paid for the 405-square metre block was, “just OK”.

The pair plan to renovate the cottage. “First [it will be an] investment property and then after that my son will live here, to go to university at QUT,” Mrs Ho said.

Belle Property Paddington agent Elizabeth Wright said the house would require renovations before the new tenants could move in, but was not sure what the owners would do with it.

“Well, how long’s a piece of string?” she said. “It’s so hard, you don’t know what the finish will be like.

“Even if it’s just a basic fix up, it would change the whole look of that house. It’d be very liveable.”

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Thailand buys $530m submarine from China, a move ‘opposed by most Thais’

Thailand has bought the first of three submarines from China in the strongest signal yet the military-ruled country is reducing reliance on its long-time ally, the United States.


A Thai navy admiral signed an agreement for the $US393 million ($530 million) Yuan-class diesel vessel in Beijing even though Thailand’s state audit office is still investigating the purchase.

Thailand’s cabinet, dominated by military officers who seized power in a 2014 coup, approved the deal in secret in April, prompting accusations of a lack of transparency in the country’s largest defence purchase.

The US downgraded defence ties with Thailand after the coup, including reducing participation of its troops in joint military exercises.

But US President Donald Trump last week invited Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha to the White House in what analysts interpreted as an attempt by Washington to restore the relationship.

Officials in Washington said Mr Trump needed the help of south-east Asian nations to pressure North Korea over its nuclear weapons program.

Mr Prayuth, a former general who led the coup, has repeatedly put off elections that, when eventually held under a new constitution, will protect the military’s influence in civilian affairs.

Critics of the Royal Thai Navy’s $US1.17 billion purchase over 11 years say the government has failed to explain publicly why the vessels are needed for a country surrounded by shallow seas where they will not be able to operate effectively.

They also point out that Thailand faces no apparent threat from any country.

The Bangkok Post said in an editorial that Thailand’s purchase of an aircraft carrier in the early 1990s was plagued by problems and never contributed to the nation’s security.

Jets and helicopters deployed to it were not given an adequate budget to operate.

The newspaper said in an editorial the submarine purchase was opposed by most Thais.

“By pressing on, the government and junta are entirely responsible for everything that follows, quite possibly for years to come,” it said.

Mr Prayuth defended the purchase, saying: “We can’t rely on others to help us.

“It’s like safeguarding your gold. If you have more, you will keep it in a safe place and lock it up ??? our resources too. We have to safeguard them,” he said.

The submarines will be built by China Shipbuilding and Offshore International, a company authorised by the Chinese government to export military products.

Thailand’s Auditor-General Pisit Leelavachiropas told reporters his office did not prohibit the agreement being signed before its investigations were completed.

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Ireland’s peace agreement threatened by ‘hard’ Brexit

Damian McGenity looks out from his hilltop farm across a valley of chessboard fields in County Armagh in Northern Ireland??????s south.?? He fears Ireland??????s peace agreement is threatened by a ??????hard?????? Brexit. Photo: Nick MillerDamian McGenity looks out from his hilltop farm across a picture-perfect valley of chessboard fields, glowing peacefully under the gentle spring sun, deployed with dozing cattle.


“This was a war zone,” he says.

And he fears the war might come again. He fears Ireland’s peace agreement is threatened by a “hard” Brexit.

A line is about to be redrawn on a map, and he believes it will be redrawn in minds, too – accompanied by economic devastation for Northern Ireland’s farming-dependent border communities.

McGenity, 43, a cattle farmer, has lived his whole life in the little village of Dromintee in County Armagh in Northern Ireland’s south, literally overlooking the border.

He was 19 when the IRA agreed to a ceasefire in 1994.

“I grew up in it,” he says. “Conflict raged where you’re sitting.”

We’re sitting in the sun at a wooden table outside the home where he, his wife and four young children live. He’s taking a lunch break from planting strawberries on his day off.

“If we were sitting here in the mid-’80s, there were three to five helicopters in the air, 24/7. There were random army foot patrols, there were 5000 British army personnel in South Armagh alone. It was a war zone.

“It was very difficult. It was a very risky part of the world to live in.”

Just down the road is a pub where, in 1977, a British army captain, posing as an itinerant musician to try to collect intelligence, was abducted and killed by the IRA.

It was one of many violent deaths, from car bombs, land mines to shootings, in this region during the Troubles.

McGenity gestures over the valley to a looming bare-topped, brown hill where, he says, a huge British military installation used to sit, closely monitoring movement across the border on the highway below for potential IRA traffic.

Now people don’t even notice when they’ve crossed the border – or they wouldn’t if it weren’t for the notices that McGenity’s group, Border Communities Against Brexit, have just posted on border roads to try to generate greater awareness of the problems to come.

He crosses into the south almost every day – for fuel or farm supplies, visiting friends, a football match. The quickest route to several nearby Northern Ireland towns crosses the border twice, even four times.

His wife crosses it for work – she has a job as a water scientist in Monaghan, one of tens of thousands who now live on the opposite side of the border from their workplace.

“It’s just something you do,” he says. “For us to contemplate a ‘hard’ border, we can’t even get our minds around it. We really can’t. The damage it will do, economically it will be a catastrophe, but even socially.”

They’re picturing long border queues, car searches, customs administration. They’re wondering about tariffs on their farm produce that would make it impossible to sell at profit outside the UK, and whether their farm would even be viable without the EU’s agricultural subsidies.

They’re wondering if the tourist trade into the region will evaporate – 80 per cent of tourism in Northern Ireland originates in the Republic.

“It’s all negative. There’s no positives from this.”

Last weekend, the EU published its negotiating guidelines for Brexit, setting out the process and priorities for the fraught battle to come.

Ireland was prominent among them. The benefits of the peace process, the Good Friday Agreement, “remain of paramount importance”.

“Flexible and imaginative solutions will be required ??? with the aim of avoiding a hard border while respecting the integrity of the [European] Union,” the document said.

The hopeful phrasing was an echo of British Prime Minister Theresa May’s pledge earlier this year, in her major Brexit speech, that “nobody wants to return to the borders of the past, so we will make it a priority to deliver a practical solution”.

That solution would “allow the maintenance of the Common Travel Area with the Republic, while protecting the integrity of the UK’s immigration system”, she said.

Her government’s White Paper acknowledged that the ability to move freely across the border was an essential part of daily life, and “when the UK leaves the EU we aim to have as seamless and frictionless a border as possible between Northern Ireland and Ireland, so that we can continue to see the trade and everyday movements we have seen up to now”.

But if you spotted the weasel words and evasions, you’re not the only one. There is a lot of talk of priorities, aims and a hypothetical solution. There is not much clue as to what that solution might be – how it is even possible to implement new customs and immigration rules without new barriers.

The UK government has acknowledged the biggest message from the Brexit referendum was control over immigration. It has pledged to leave the single market, and probably the customs union. An unpoliced, wide open land border with the EU after Brexit would be a smuggler’s wonderland.

The alternative hard consequence is already being planned. Ireland’s transport department is looking at the M1 highway from Dublin to Belfast and writing contingency plans for lay-bys and customs stops, modelled on posts at the EU’s other land borders in the east.

They, like others, appear cynical that a soft border rabbit lurks in the hard Brexit hat.

“I’ve done this myself, when you say you’re going to come up with an incredibly innovative solution, it often is playing for time and hoping for the best,” Professor John Garry, a politics expert from Queens University in Belfast, says.

“The border issue in Northern Ireland is not only tied up with Brexit; it’s tied up with ongoing issues and discussions and debate between unionists and nationalists anyway. We kind of had thought the border issue was settled.”

Once the current invisible line becomes an external border of the EU, it will play more than just a symbolic role.

“Do you want to organise it for free movement of people, or for customs [checks] for goods or for security matters?” Garry asks.

There is a lot of confusion about this at the moment, he says.

“Anyone who tells you they know what’s going on – be sceptical. A lot of people are going about scratching their heads as to how this is going to play out ??? The really big potential problem is if you have a physical manifestation of a border to do any of those things, some check of persons, opening the boot of your car to see what’s in it, that’s likely to annoy a fair amount of people.”

Northern Ireland’s Catholics voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU, and would most likely feel more of an isolated minority after Brexit.

McGenity puts it like this: Europe allowed an “open society”. The disappearance, for all practical purposes, of the border between north and south changed people’s mindsets. The Good Friday Agreement made everyone EU citizens, free to travel.

“Before, we were almost hemmed in, if not physically, then psychologically,” he says.

“For a hard border to be constructed, a physical one, it will also be constructed very much in people’s minds. It could cause enormous resentment.”

There are still elements around who would like that to happen, he warns.

“The dissident republicans are a spent force ??? to all intents and purposes they’re an irrelevance. My real fear is that a hard border would give them relevance. It would give them a focal point, it would give them a target and it would allow them to say that Ireland has been partitioned.

“When you add the economic consequences of a hard Brexit, negative consequences, into that mix you have a pot that will fester. My fear is that those people who wish to return to violence – it would be a magnet for them.

“I really hope it doesn’t come to that.”

Garry, the Queens University professor, says one solution could be stricter border elements between mainland Britain and Northern Ireland.

“If one wanted to keep the north-south border as free as possible, then what that means is that anyone in the south of Ireland could wander up to the north ??? in many people’s minds the whole point of leaving the EU was that you wouldn’t be able to do that,” he says.

“So you’d have to impose some kind of strict-ish checks between east-west, if you’re travelling from Northern Ireland to the rest of the UK.”

But that would annoy a whole other segment of the population – the Protestant unionist community who don’t want Northern Ireland to be separated in a clear way from the rest of the UK.

“One of the challenges of the border question is not only how hard or soft it’s going to be but where it’s going to be and who it’s going to annoy,” Garry says.

It could even end up with a mixture of both – north-south could be hard for security, and east-west hard for customs.

“That would annoy everyone,” Garry says.

On the weekend the EU provocatively pointed out another solution. In the minutes of its meeting, after lobbying from Dublin, it noted that Northern Ireland would automatically return to being part of the EU if it voted – as anticipated under the Good Friday Agreement – to reunite with the rest of the island.

Garry says this is a remote chance that would require a huge change in public opinion in the north – but one effect of Brexit could be to start pushing sentiment in that direction.

“It was simply a statement of the obvious, in a way, a logical necessity that Northern Ireland would have East Germany status,” he says.

Others have seen it as more than just a legal note. Sinn Fein’s Gerry Adams viewed it as a step on the pathway towards a referendum on Irish unity.

“The government needs to discuss with our EU partners how all of Ireland can remain members of the Single Market and the Common Travel area,” he said in a statement.

Sinn Fein wants a “special status” for the North – within the EU – after Brexit, and has promised a “diplomatic offensive to bring it about”.

Former Irish diplomat Ray Bassett has a provocative, opposite suggestion. Rather than move the EU border into the Irish Sea, he asks why not push it down to the English Channel?

“We have a choice in Ireland: do we go with the other 26 countries in the EU or do we decide that our interest with the UK is greater than with the other 26? In my view, it is greater. The disruption of our going with the other 26 and breaking ties with Britain would be more injurious, more damaging in the end than if we maintained a customs union with the UK and negotiated trade with the other 26.”

He has a point. Brexit is going to hurt Ireland, a lot.

On Thursday, Ireland’s central bank chief economist told an Irish parliamentary committee that Ireland would be the hardest hit by Brexit of any remaining EU country.

A “hard” Brexit would slash 3 per cent from the country’s GDP and kill 40,000 jobs over 10 years, Gabriel Fagan said, though there were possible opportunities in the shift of financial services out of the City of London.

Bassett points out that 80 per cent of all Irish exports go through the UK transport system – even if they’re on their way to the rest of the world.

And small and medium enterprises away from the affluent Dublin belt trade much more with the UK than do the new foreign investment industries in the capital.

“So you’re affecting rural viability as well ??? huge damage can be done to the country with [the UK under] WTO most favoured nation status. Our biggest export to the UK is very much food. They’re taking billions worth of agricultural goods. If WTO barriers come down, there could be up to 50 per cent tariffs into the UK and that will kill that trade.

“If you can’t facilitate the Irish:British relationship then maybe we would be better off as an associate of the EU, something like Norway or Iceland, very closely linked to the EU but not members.”

There has been a political decision to stick with Brussels, so no one has looked at the benefits of the alternative, Bassett says – and this was a mistake. He believes Ireland should defy the EU and negotiate with the UK separately.

“Clearly there are people in Brussels who don’t want Brexit to be a success. From Ireland’s point of view we have a huge interest in Brexit being a success. If you punish Britain you punish Ireland, it’s as simple as that.”

And he agrees there is more than just an economic danger to hardening the border with the north.

He was one of the Irish government’s negotiators on the Good Friday Agreement, so he’s familiar with the old tensions, and worries they could return.

“If you put [the border] back, even the most moderate in Northern Ireland would be affronted and it would lead to difficulties. I don’t know how big the difficulties would be – but the former chief constable for Northern Ireland says it would embolden dissidents.”

There would also be a “huge amount” of smuggling, he said, which would lead to very unpopular counter-measures.

“It certainly endangers the peace process,” he says.

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Canberra hotels win national Property Council awards

TRA27CANBERRA-VIBENewsThe Vibe Hotel Canberra Airport represents the latest addition to the Canberra Airportprecinct and Canberra????????????s accommodation and tourism sector.The Canberra TimesDate: 28 October 2015Photo Jay Cronan Photo: Jay CronanLittle National Hotel named Canberra’s best developmentCanberra Airport’s Vibe Hotel lands Excellence in Building Award


Two Canberra hotels, Little National Hotel and Vibe Hotel Canberra Airport, have picked up national property awards.

Winners of the Property Council of Australia/Rider Levett Bucknall Innovation and Excellence Awards were announced at a gala event in Sydney on Friday.

Doma Group’s Little National Hotel received the KONE Award for Development Innovation.

It was crowned Canberra’s best development at the Property Council’s ACT awards in April.

Property Council chief executive Ken Morrison said the hotel was chosen from a group of 14 finalists.

“Owned by a second-generation Canberra development company, Little National Hotel is highly tailored to meet the needs of budget-conscious travellers who don’t want to compromise on luxury,” Mr Morrison said.

“Doma Group’s innovative design and business model offers a smart solution to the luxury and affordability equation.”

Each of the hotel’s 120 rooms is just 17 square metres, but its clever use of space provides all the amenities of a five-star hotel.

Capital Property Group’s Vibe Hotel Canberra Airport won the Brian & Poulter Award for Best Tourism and Leisure Development.

The Vibe Hotel Canberra Airport’s design was inspired by Walter Burley Griffin’s geometric plans. Photo: Jay Cronan


Rider Levett Bucknall ACT managing director Mark Chappe said the hotel strengthened the international airport’s offerings.

“The judges selected Vibe Hotel Canberra Airport Hotel for the combination of modern, innovative design, architectural quality and place-making potential,” Mr Chappe said.

The hotel comprises 191 rooms, including 12 suites and nine apartments, as well as hospitality and conference facilities. Its design was inspired by the geometry of Walter Burley Griffin’s plans for the city.

“The Vibe Hotel Canberra attracts both visitors and residents with a design that is authentic to Canberra,” Mr Chappe said.

The hotel was also named project of the year at the 2016 Master Builders and Cbus Excellence in Building Awards.

Other Property Council award winners included the restoration of one of Sydney’s most recognisable sandstone buildings, 5 Martin Place, which was named development of the year.

Mr Morrison said the quality of entries was “astounding” and reflected the industry’s commitment to “pushing the innovation envelope”.

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Rotary calls for nominations for emergency services awards

WINNER: Captain Graham Parks (middle) with Emergency Services Minister David Elliott (left) and Rotary 9675 district governor Stephen Humphreys at last year’s awards.PEOPLE who work in emergency services aren’t usually the type to seek accolades, but the Rotary club reckons their efforts deserve acknowledgement.


That’s why, for the third year, Rotary is seeking nominations for its NSW Emergency Services Community Awards.

The awards are designed to highlight the important work undertaken by emergency services personnel, who often go above and beyond the call of duty.

Minister for Emergency Services Troy Grant described emergency service workers –paid and volunteer –as “pillars of strength” in our communites.

“They are the ones we rely on in times of crisis, but they also carry out many selfless acts at other times, through fundraising, community engagement and building community resilience.”

The awards are open to all emergency services personnel from the six official NSW emergency services agencies:Fire and Rescue,Marine Rescue,Ambulance,Rural Fire Service,State Emergency Serviceand the Volunteer Rescue Association.

Funds raised through the awards support the Australian Rotary Health PhD Research Scholarship into Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in emergency services personnel.

Members of the public and emergency services workers can submit online nominations via the awards website at 广州桑拿论坛rotaryescawards.org广州桑拿论坛. Nominations close on Friday, May 19.

A panel of independent judges will assess nominees on three key criteria:

Community service above and beyond the call of normal duty, which best exemplifies Rotary’s motto of Service Above SelfPersonal attributesContribution to their organisationWinners will be announced at an awards dinner in August.

Last year’s major winners were David Cotsios, from the NSW Volunteer Rescue Association, and Graham Parks, from Fire and Rescue NSW.

HONOURED: Rotary’s 2016 volunteer officer of the year David Cotsios.

David Cotsiosjuggles his volunteer role with the Batlow Search and Rescue Squadwith his paid job as an ambulance officer.

Graham Parks, fire and rescue captain at Leeton, has served for more than 30 years and devotes much of his spare time to offering counselling to colleagues as well as to other members of the community.

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Newcastle Jets, Sydney FC hero Stu Musialik reveals battle with drugs and depressionvideo, photos

The other side of Stu Musialik FIGHTING BACK: Stu Musialik at home at Eleebana this week. Picture: Marina Neil


Grand final day 2008.

Musialik with coach Gary van Egmond during the Jets’ 2008 grand final celebrations at City Hall.

Grand final day 2008.

Musialik with former Socceroos coach Guus Hiddink at Rotterdam airport after a pre-World Cup training camp in 2006.

Musialik at 15 after being picked to go to the AIS.

Playing for the Young Socceroos against Chile in 2004.


facebookSHAREtwitterTWEETemailwhatsappStuart Musialik made it look easy as the classymidfield player on which the Jets’ championship season rested.

The Newcastle boy was still only 22 when his home-town club beat derby rivals Central Coast to lift the 2008 A-League trophy. Former Socceroos coach Guus Hiddink had selected him to attend a pre-World Cup training camp in 2006, and he went on to starfor his country at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Butbehind the scenes, away from the bright stadium lights, the young man’s life was running off the rails.

Musialik was 15 when his father committed suicide, and five years later he was a “mess”. By 26, his career would be over.

The midfield pivot’s off-field troubles and early exit from the game, barely a year after winning a second A-League title with Sydney FC, havebeen asource of speculation in football circles for years.

Musialik has now opened up to the Newcastle Herald in an honest and revealing interview about his strugglewith grief, drugs, depression and bipolar disorder during and after his professional career.

The now 32-year-old describes how he abused alcohol and recreational drugs, including ecstasy and cocaine, during his three season at the Jets.

“Football-wise it was unbelievable, but behind the scenes I was a mess,” he said. “That first two or three years of the A-League when I was playing for Newcastle, I spiralled out of control.

“I’ve struggled with depression since my teenage years. My dad committed suicide when I was 15. I was put on medication in 2006. Even when I was playing for the Jets and Sydney I was on medication for it.

“Then it spiralled a bit out of control and I had to walk away from football after I left Sydney. It’s been a struggle ever since then.”

Musialik was plucked from the Newcastle Breakers youth system at 16 to go to the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra, where he found a welcome, if ultimately harmful, distraction barely months after his father’s death.

He returned from the AIS in 2004 to play first grade for Newcastle in the final months of now-defunct National Soccer League then faced 18 months without football before the A-League started in late 2005.

“When I went through my first episode of severe depression, it was when the old NSL finished up and we had that break in between the NSL and the A-League.

“I was really lost in that period. Nineteen I was then. I didn’t have any qualifications, I didn’t get a job or anything, I was too old for school. I think that’s probably when it hit me what happened with my dad.

“That’s when I started to drink more heavily. When I was still playing I’d have the odd night out, but not when it interfered with football. Every player does that, or most players do.

“But that was the period when I started to drink more heavilyand I did try recreational drugs in that period.”

Musialik was a constant in the Jets midfield when the A-League finally kicked off, helping the team to the preliminary final in 2007 then the championship the following year.

Stu Musialik with mother Sue Rigby. Picture: Marina Neil

But the on-field success concealed a routine of drinking and drug-taking as his “demons kicked in” and he felt “lost” when he wasn’t playing or training.

“Back when I was playing for Newcastle I had issues with alcoholand I had issues with recreational drugs as well.It’s not something I’m proud of, but I’m not afraid to admit it, either.

“Going through what I was going through and doing those things only made it worse. Off the pitch I spiralled out of control a fair bit with those things.

“I self-medicatedwith the wrong things, with alcohol and recreational drugs. At the end of the day, that’s what took away the football from me.It’s just a shame that I got involved in that sort of stuff. That took away what I really loved most. It is what it is. I can’t change it.

“There was a period there where it was pretty consistent. The first year or two of the A-League I was drinking pretty consistently. I was definitely out drinking every week and I’d probably take recreational drugs most weekends.

“It was more after a game. You wouldn’ttrain’til a couple of days after so you’d go out and drink, then usually once you’ve had a few too many drinks you’d find some recreational drugs, or they’d find you.It was usually ecstasy. Once you’re out in nightclubs and drinking, that’s the drug most available. It’s not hard to get. Sometimes it was cocaine or speed.

“Even though I didn’t like what I was doing–I hated the fact I was doing it, because it was stuffing up my life and my football –thatwas my escape from reality when I wasn’t at football.

“Dealing with the issues I had at the time, it was easier doing that than sitting at home.”

Asked if his Jets teammates knew about his issues, he said:“Of course they knew, but at the end of the day people try to help you, but once you’re in that cycle, I suppose, no matter how much people try to help you it’s hard to get out of it.”

Musialik moved to Sydney FC after the grand final success and found a few years of relative peace. He stopped taking drugs, cut back on his drinking and bought aunit at Freshwater, where he would surf in the afternoons after training. The Sydney-based family of former Jets teammate Tarek Elrich provided a home away from home one night a week.

Musialik scoring for Sydney FC in 2008.

He won a second title with the Sky Blues in 2009 and captained them in the 2011 Asian Champions League, but he was homesick.

“I never really wanted to leave Newcastle.I had success down there when we won it, but deep down I still wanted to be in Newcastle playing for Newcastle.

“Sydney offered me a contract, but I wanted to come back to Newcastle, but I was told from Newcastle that they didn’t want me. I was sort of stuck in no-man’s land because Sydney withdrew the offer. I’m pretty sure they got wind that I wanted to go back.”

At 26and training on his own with no contract on the horizon, heincreasedhismedication without consulting his doctor.He then signed with the Mariners under his former Olyroos coach Graham Arnold, but within weeks he was forced to walk away from the game he loved.

“When I signed with them I made the mistake of dropping my medication, halving it to where it was before I put it up a few months before.

“Then I spiralled and went to s—.

“I found out that doing what I did with my medication could have that effect, and I never really recovered from that. That medication had been working for me really well for four or five years. It stopped working for me, and then I had to go into hospital to come off that medication and go on to new medication, and that really took ’til now to get on top of that.

“I was in hospital numerous times because of my depression, and had lots of bouts of that shock therapy, ECT [electroconvulsive therapy].I’ve lost count of how many times Ihad that. It’s been a real tough road, and without my family I don’t know that I would have got through it.

“I had a fair few bouts of the shock therapy in Newcastle. I tried new meds and it wasn’t working. I went down to Sydney and had some bouts of shock therapy in Sydney.

“It was getting me by, but it wasn’t actually working well enough to get me back to full health.

Musialik training with the Jets during an attempted comeback in 2013.

“During those periodsI had two or three goes to get back into football, but it just wasn’t happening for me and I pulled the pin on it.”

Musialik was also suffering from a serious stomach complaint he believes was brought on by his drug taking. His health has improved dramatically sincesurgery last year to fix the problem, and he has not had a drink in three years. He haslost more than 20 kilograms and finally returned to the field this season with Northern NSW first-division team Adamstown Rosebud.

“I’ve really knuckled down in the last few years to concentrate on getting on top of the illness and basically getting myself back so I can play football again.That’s been my main motivation.

“The whole time I was out I knew that I wanted to play football again and get myself back to a stage where I could play football again. That was my number-onegoal. I love playing.

“It’s no different to a player having an injury, but when it’s mental you can’t go get an X-ray or an MRI scan like you can with a broken leg or an ACL.You can’t prove it. A lot of people don’t understand it.”

“I’m coming out the other end of it now, and now I’m happy. I feel like I’ve matured a lot because of it, and I’m doing all the things I wish I did when I was 19 or 20.

“I can’t change that now. I can just deal with what’s happened and make the most of what I’ve got.

“Now I’m more aware of what’s important in life. You’ve got to have your family and close friends. Anything outside of that doesn’t really matter.

“Sometimes you can get sidetracked and lose sight of what’s most important,especially when I was playing football and everyone kissed your arse and wanted to be your best mate. Once football’s gone and you’re not in the papers or on TV, you’requickly forgotten, and you realise the ones that really are important.

“They’re the ones who pick up the pieces when it all goes to crap.”

He urged young people to stay away from drugs and be open about their emotional problems.

“I can’t control what other people do, but I’d want young ones to know that they don’t have to bottle uptheir issues. I bottled everything up and kept everything to myself.I really shut out my family.

“First of all, there’s no need to be trying recreational drugs whatsoever, especially if you want to be an elite athlete.

“When you’re younger there’s a lot of that pressure involved in it. When you’re getting older and all your mates start drinking and then you’re in environments where the recreational drugs are put in front of you, at the end of the day you’vegot to be strong and just say no.

“…Be open with people around you about the issues in your life and things that are bothering you, because you don’t want to fall in the cycle of what I did and ruin things. It can go downhill really quickly.”

Lifeline 13 11 14

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Hero father saves woman from knife attacker

Hero father saves woman from knife attacker The alleged attacker wheeled out of the Doveton house on a stretcher. Photo: Channel 7


Police on Waratah Street in Doveton after the Saturday morning siege. Photo: Paul Jeffers

Residents on Waratah Street, Doveton, after the siege. Photo: Paul Jeffers

Heavily armed police surround a black sedan in Doveton. Photo: Courtesy of Nine News

Heavily armed police surround a black sedan in Doveton. Photo: Courtesy of Nine News


facebookSHAREtwitterTWEETemailwhatsappA Melbourne father has saved an injured woman from a knife-wielding attacker outside his suburban home before heavily armed police swooped on his property.

The drama unfolded about 6.30am on Saturday, when a man stabbed another man and two women at a house on Lacebark Street in Doveton.

The male victim was left in a critical condition with life threatening injuries to his upper and lower body.

It is believed one of the injured women managed to escape and fled to nearby Waratah Street,but the attacker followed.

Resident Ina Maramota was inside his home with his partner and their six children when they heard the alleged attacker threatening the woman in the middle of the street.

Mr Maramota ventured outside, armed with a large stick, to confront the attacker andhelp the injuredwoman.

“I had a big stick – I was pushing him away with thestick,” Mr Maramota told Channel 7.

“Then I grabbed her – she was behind me – and I was using the stick at the same time.”

Mr Maramota managed to ward off the attacker by pushing him in the chest with the stick and help the womanto safety inside his home.

He and his family, and the injured woman, barricaded themselves inside, while the attacker demanded to be let in.

Heavily armed police soon descendedon the suburband surrounded theproperty.

The family was huddled inside when they reportedly heard rocks being thrown against the back window.

Channel 7 has reported the rocks were thrown by police, who got the family’s attention, before helping them slip out the back door and climb over the fence to safety.

By that stage, it is understood, the alleged attacker had managed to get inside.

After a short stand off, police stormed the property, Tasering the alleged attacker and arresting him.

He was eventually carried out by ambulance paramedics, tied to a stretcher.He was taken to Dandenong Hospital in a stable condition.

“He has been taken to hospital for assessment before being interviewed,” a police spokeswoman said.

The man stabbed at Lacebark Street property has been taken to The Alfred hospital in a critical condition, with both upper and lower body injuries.

A woman stabbed at the property was also taken to The Alfred in a serious condition.

The second woman has been taken by ambulance to the Royal Melbourne Hospital in a serious condition.

“The exact circumstances surrounding the incident are yet to be determined but all parties are believed to be known to each other,” the police spokeswoman said.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

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